In today’s data-driven world, it has become evident that data privacy is a must for any company that gathers or uses personal data, which, let's face it, is just about every company. Data is the lifeblood of organizations and the enactment of data privacy laws doesn’t spare organizations in any way. In fact, they necessitate the need to adopt a privacy-conscious and privacy-by-design culture to avoid non-compliance penalties.

The Need for a Privacy Culture in Organizations

Theft, loss or unintentional disclosure of personal information are some of the most frequent privacy violations. Most of these violations could have been prevented if those responsible had just considered how their actions would affect others' privacy.

An environment, or "culture," is required where every employee prioritizes preserving customers’ privacy anytime that employee handles personal information. When you integrate privacy into your organizational culture, much like when you integrate privacy into your systems and technologies, you end up with a framework that safeguards privacy by default while allowing you to make the most of your data.

Those in charge of protecting privacy should integrate the value of privacy into the organization's core values and adopt measures to transform understanding of privacy and conviction in its significance into consistent behaviors that will gradually change the culture.

When you foster a cultural knowledge of privacy, you unleash a force multiplier for privacy that permeates every part of your organization.

So how do you build a privacy-aware culture?

Here are proven ways to build a privacy-aware culture:

Related Article: What's in Your Consumer Data Privacy Closet?

Get Leadership On Board

Getting leadership on board is crucial to establishing a unified vision since organizational culture begins at the top. Begin by gaining the backing of a small group of influential people who can support your case before executive management.

Senior leaders should be made aware of the possible effects of privacy risks by giving examples of breaches in comparable businesses and outlining how they could have been prevented. This will help senior leaders visualize what can happen if risks are not handled.

Conduct an Internal Audit

Assessing the present state of the organization's privacy program, including privacy policies, breach response procedures, and training, is crucial in developing the desired privacy culture.

Related Article: Is Less More for Customer Personalization and Privacy?

Conduct a Privacy Gap Analysis

A privacy gap analysis can offer factual information about the organization's present compliance level, raise senior decision-makers' understanding of the most important privacy issues and dangers and make it clear to employees that maintaining the privacy of personal information is a significant matter.

Create Privacy Advocates

Formerly assign privacy advocates within respective teams that will promote the privacy initiative as they work on other projects. These representatives should be present in your organization's core functional areas, especially those where data utilization will have a significant influence.

Empower privacy advocates to look for occasions to discuss data privacy. Has a member of your company avoided a phishing scam? Use that as a chance to commend the employee and emphasize the significance of your company's information.

Related Article: Growing Data Privacy Concerns in the Age of Digital Transformation

Learning Opportunities

Introduce Privacy Culture During Onboarding

Culture is how you behave every day as an individual. By including privacy in your employee manual and during onboarding, you can demonstrate to employees right away how essential privacy is to the company’s culture.

Importance of Privacy Training for a Privacy-Aware Culture

Customers increasingly want far more from the companies with which they do business. Delivering the greatest product or service on the market is no longer sufficient. Consequently, organizations need to invest in employee privacy training as data privacy laws and regulations evolve with time, necessitating an updated privacy framework.

In addition to adhering to many rules, businesses are required by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to provide internal privacy training to their staff on data protection and privacy.

Data Protection Officers (DPOs) will therefore be tasked with organizing programs instructing staff members to respect individual rights and uphold corporate obligations under the GDPR. According to article 39 of the GDPR, DPOs are responsible for raising awareness and training staff members involved in data processing operations.

These programs, which keep the data processing employees informed of the organization's security standards, include workshops, online training and interactive exercises. For instance, they should be aware of the categories of data they are not permitted to amend or share with third parties, be able to recognize attempts made to get personal information through fraud, and comprehend the repercussions of negligence (monetary penalties).

Related Article: 5 Lessons Learned From 4 Years of GDPR

Renowned Privacy Training Certifications

Opt for renowned certifications that validate your understanding of data privacy. One in particular that stands out:

IAPP Certification Programs

The IAPP's global training and certification program for privacy and data security are unmatched in terms of comprehensiveness, modernity and demand. The Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) provides practitioners with the knowledge necessary to increase their organizations' value while assisting enterprises worldwide in strengthening compliance and risk mitigation strategies.

By taking the CIPP, individuals can exhibit knowledge of data privacy laws, jurisdictional laws, rules, enforcement strategies and the legal requirements for data processing and cross-border data transfer. 

Conclusion: Create Culture of Training

Given the consequence of non-compliance, businesses must ensure that every staff member handling data has received in-depth privacy training in data protection and is aware of how data privacy laws affect data processing activities.

What may appear to be a pricey investment now could prevent a company from being hit with million-euro fines that would render its entire business unviable and result in losing customer confidence.

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